Why the Orlando Magic should hope that Nerlens Noel declares for the 2013 NBA draft
Nerlens Noel was one of the most exciting prospects in the whole NCAA league this season and was tipped to be picked right near the start of the NBA Draft at the end of this season, but an ACL tear that has ruled him out for the rest of the season and has raised concerns about whether he will even declare for this year’s draft.
For the Orlando Magic, Noel would be the perfect player for the team that, barring a miracle, will have a lottery pick at the end of the season. Before his injury Noel was averaging 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and most importantly to the Magic, 4.4 blocks per game. The reason the blocks are important to the Magic, as the best Magic teams of recent have been built around a strong post presence I.e. Shaquille O’Neal in the 90’s and more recently Dwight Howard. Noel could provide this franchise with a centrepiece to build a new team around that will be capable of competing in the future.
However, considering the injury that Noel has, there may be concerns about drafting a big that has trouble with injuries considering what happened with Greg Oden in Portland. However, this particular injury, the ACL tear, hasn’t shown to have a huge effect on the careers of players as many who have sustained this injury have gone on to have successful careers. Another problem with drafting players with injuries is that the player may not be able to play for the team for a while due to the injury and although not the most popular move for the fans, this may help the team in the long run. With their lottery pick not being able to play possibly for a large part of the season, the teams season record would probably not improve too much which means that Orlando would have another high pick in next year’s draft, which looks to have a number of players capable of being future stars in the NBA. With this pick they could draft in players who could improve them at the Point Guard position or on the wings, meaning they would have a very strong team going forward.
Even if the Magic draft a player who will provide a lot more present help than Noel then they may still be in contention to have a high draft pick the next year, unless they make a move for a good player in free agency, so they would still have two future stars on the team. But I believe that Noel is the most sensible choice for the franchise if he declares for the draft due to his defensive presence in the paint, something that has been a key part of the Magic’s culture for the best part of two decades.